Mini-Review: Shorts (2010)

Introduction

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, regardless enjoy!

Shorts (2010)

Robert Rodriguez’s latest film Shorts is very good family fare. Rodriguez since the late-’90s has been a director who goes back and forth between action films like the El Mariachi series, which are generally more popular, and family films like Spy Kids, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl and Shorts.

What is most interesting about this particular title is the way it’s structured. It uses a lot of voice over – which is a risky proposition, but it is well done and Jimmy Bennett narrates the tale with as much energy and zest as if he was onscreen. Rodriguez also employs a narrator who is not the greatest storyteller allowing him to play with structure and tells the story out of chronological order. There is also some fun had with video as the narrator stops, pauses, fast forwards and rewinds footage as needed.

It would make an interesting editing experiment for film schools to piece it together chronologically. This lack of sequence when combined with this particular story does cause some major pace issues in the second half of the movie. It is always enjoyable but just can’t compare to the breakneck speed of the first half. A similar movie in structure is The Sasquatch Gang but the story is low concept as opposed to high so pace suffers less.

Ultimately it is still a creative, inventive and fun film. In episode 0, before the credits, Rodriguez hearkens back to his great student film Bedhead and kept the same verve and pizzazz throughout. Shorts is a film that is always trying something new. You might not always like it, but at least it tries – and I simply have to like any movie with a booger monster in it.

6/10

Short Film Saturday- Moonrise Kingdom Animated Shorts

Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom, which will be reviewed here shortly (Hint: I liked it), features six fictitious books that are Suzy’s (Kara Hayward) favorites and she reads from constantly. Aside from having a heroine who is an avid reader, thus encouraging reading in general, the film is also very creative in making these tales. Not only does Suzy read aloud from these imagined tomes but different artists were commissioned to create the covers and also animate this short film, which is not only entertaining, but gives you a glimpse into the world of this film without spoiling it.

Enjoy!

Short Film Saturday- Ralph Phillips

Ralph Phillips in Boyhood Daze (Warner Bros.)

Continuing the theme of under-utilized characters I now turn my attention to the Looney Tunes. In the short film game the Looney Tunes are without question my favorite cadre of characters. I love some of the smaller personages especially, however, they are fewer and further between than other groups. The Looney Tunes while they do have depth in talent are buoyed mostly by their titanic personalities. Having said that the two Ralph Phillips shorts that Chuck Jones directed have always been favorites of mine. They are lyrical and whimsical celebrations of childhood imagination. Of all the characters in the Warner canon he is who I’d most want to see more of owing mostly to the fact that he has only these appearances. Establishing him as a dreamer makes him suited for shorts or a TV series and he could be easily incorporated into the Looney Tunes comic published by DC Comics, I’m uncertain if he ever has been.

So here are the two shorts, the first of which was nominated for an Academy Award.


Your Online Georges Méliès Film Festival

Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield in Hugo (Paramount)

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Here’s another blog trying to prove how clever they are by linking to all the visual references in Hugo.” Wrong. Granted it’d be more painstaking to jot down the shots and match them to those in the film. However, the purpose of this post is a bit broader.

I have linked to anything and everything I could find. Some are referenced in Hugo, some aren’t. What I really want to people to do is to take a few minutes and watch some of there. Some are quite short. However, I’ve also created this post using just one website.

The internet archive is a great resource for all kinds of material but especially films which have entered the public domain. You can stream and download all kinds of great movies for free.

If you enjoy these movies, as I suspect you will, in their more primitive degraded state then you can look to Flicker Alley who have released many great sets of Georges Méliès rediscovered and restored works on DVD.

Enjoy!

If you ever wonder where your dreams come from, look around: this is where they’re made.
-Ben Kingsley, Hugo

<a href="http://www.archive.org/details/Lauberge-ensorceletheBewitchedInn1897&quot; title="The Bewitched Inn (1897)”>

A Terrible Night (1896)

The Devil in a Convent (1899)

<a href='http://www.archive.org/details/Cinderella_601&#039;>Cinderella (1899)

Joan of Arc (1899) [TINTED; Third-Party Voice Over Added]

The Man with a Head in the Cabinet (circa 1900)

The One Man Orchestra (1900)

The Devil and the Statue (1901)

A Trip to the Moon (1902)

The Monster (1903)

The Infernal Cauldron

The Impossible Voyage (1904)

The Infernal Cakewalk (1903)

Frolics of Satan (1906) [TINTED]

The Palace of the Arabian Nights (1906)

The Eclipse (1907)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1907)

Good Glue Sticks (1907)

The Devilish Tenant (1909) [TINTED]

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards

I decided that I would not write during what portion of the red carpet I did watch as attention must be paid. Overall, while in the end there was nothing that will likely go down as a historic Oscar look. It was one of the better looking overall displays I can remember.

I don’t know when this half-hour pre-show started (it wasn’t that long ago). I never really cared for it and it’s a little superfluous and just makes the show end later. Why does it still happen?

Begnini’s celebration is my least favorite acceptance moment. For the record.

You gotta love Steven Spielberg. Wiping the producer’s forehead and giving him water is classic.

Like the opening montage of best picture nominees. Why not the end shot from Inception?

Great opening with Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Great joke in the opening about James ‘appealing to a younger demographic.’ Glad to see the families get introduced.

Tom Hanks presents as Gone with the Windand Titanic get mentioned. Art Direction and Cinematography mentioned early in the show is a nice change. This was not a category I was looking for an upset in Alice in Wonderland takes Art Direction. Shocked.

First, applause of the night upon hearing Wally Pfister’s name called for Cinematography. Very well deserved award. Loved his speech in regards to Nolan.

Another pleasant surprise and the first standing ovation of the night as Kirk Douglas is introduced.

Douglas’s shtick may go down as one of the moments of this year. Also, I have to see Animal Kingdom. It has been decided.

I stand corrected Leo’s speech.

“I’m Banksy”
-Justin Timberlake

Awesomely amazing line.

I said it previously I would be rather happy if The Lost Thing got animated short. Congratulations.

Toy Story 3 wins Best Animated Feature. I knew that already.

Didn’t really like that Screenplay got the short shrift in terms of presentation. No excerpts or anything. Surprised but gladdened by the win for The King’s Speech. I also think that winners should realize there are 23 other winners who all deserve their time to do their thanks and shouldn’t risk taking some time from others.

I want to see In a Better World but am a little surprised it won. It’s the 3rd Danish winner and surprisingly the first since 1959.

Am I the only conspiracy theorist who thinks clips are based on one’s chances of winning? That was not the best scene for Mark Ruffalo at all.

Best part of Bale’s speech was his saying he’d dropped the F-bomb enough already. Oscar-winner or not he’s had plenty of other wonderful and worthy performances not the least of which is the one that launched his career many years ago, Empire of the Sun. All roads lad to Spielberg.

I’ll bet the theme from E.T. has been played at the Oscars every year since 1982. It always makes the closing medley.

OK, so does Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch winning mean that the trend away from composers towards current/former recording artists is going to stick?

First, winner I was extremely geeked about in a while. Sound mixing goes to Inception. And there goes another sweep in the sound categories. I wish I had stats for it but I bet it happens a lot. I have also enjoyed how everyone is thanking Chris Nolan first, almost as if they are trying to subtly point out his being snubbed for Best Director.

I really wish that more time would be spent on the technical awards maybe a special after the earlier presentation. Some really awesome technology gets kind of glossed over.

I need to look into the other Make-Up nominee that I hadn’t heard of, The Way Back. Looks sweet.

Leave it to President Obama to have the best choice as best Oscar-winning song. I’m a little tired of these categories that flex their nominations between three and five. Pick a size. Really, only four songs were nominated? Why? The process is intricate but music is where you can add to your appeal if you’re looking to boost ratings. I was floored when “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won that scored high enough to be nominated and win but yet this year songs by Eddie Vedder, Alanis Morissette and Justin Bieber didn’t?

Kudos to Luke Matheny not only on the win but on plugging all the nominees who are iTunes. They were great.

The best, most entertaining part of the night was the musical montage.

Inside Job wins and now I never want to talk about Banksy again.

Billy Crystal comes on for a bit. Always glad to see him back.

Inception wins visual effects and stops Alice’s unthinkable streak.

Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. should do something together that’s not as “Holmesy” that was pretty funny stuff.

Listening to the other nominees actually got me rooting for Randy Newman for the first time in years. Some sleepy stuff in there.

Complete and utter failure this year in the “In Memoriam” montage. Firstly, with the lives singing people who were shown didn’t get their due applause like they did in previous years and first the SAG Award show excluded Corey Haim and now the Oscars did too. I assure you he is missed by many film fans and is exclusion is a joke.

Tom Hooper wins for The King’s Speech. Dare they split it?

Best story told by a winner tonight has to be Hooper’s tale about how his mom found out about the play and said “Tom, I just found your next film.”

They were at it again. Kevin Brownlow is a man who has more than earned his Life Achievement award. For all intents and purposes he pioneered preservation and restoration of films and brought many silent films back from the dead. Here is a link to Kevin Spacey’s speech about him at the Governor’s Ball.

I also found it a little humorous that they said Jean-Luc Godard was sorry he couldn’t be there.

This congratulatory intro to lead acting categories is also making it take a lot longer than it has to.

It looks like there’ll be no surprises in the acting categories.

Congratulations to Colin Firth for his win. It’s his first but it shouldn’t be. If you haven’t seen A Single Man you most definitely should. It’s good to know that some people do get their due.

Listing the previous winners and nominees in the Best Picture category is a great way to lead off the Best Picture montage.

The King’s Speech wins Best Picture and now I can rest comfortably.

The finale was a fanastic and needed addition to the show. It was either ending on a jubilant note or a down one based on where my rooting interest were. if they keep this up it’ll be a fantastic close every year. Great job, P.S. 22.